Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Long Pond Ironworks

The history of this quaint town goes back to 1766, when a man named Peter Hasenclever founded an iron forge referred to as the Long Pond Ironworks, named after the body of water it relied on for power. The Ironworks helped the continental army in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. The industry demanded workers, and before long the Village of Hewitt was formed. The iron working ceased at the site in 1882, but other industry continued to thrive, mostly mining. Unfortunately by the 1950's, the industry was beginning to die out, and the land was donated to the state in 1957. It was designated as a state park three decades later. So what has become of this incredibly historic village?

The original stone furnaces from 1766

Limited state funding has left the ironworks in shambles. Despite it's listing on the NRHP, the village has been largely neglected since it came into state ownership. The local preservation group, The Friends of Long Pond Ironworks, has done as much upkeep as they possibly can to the key historic features of the village. A number of other buildings haven't had as much luck.

The first house along what is now Greenwood Lake rd. was the Stevens-West House. This small bungalow, built in craftsman style, shows serious signs of neglect. It has been boarded up from floor to ceiling.


  

Almost directly across the street is the old Hewitt church. It was constructed by the villagers in 1895. The building still stands in good shape to this day, and is one of the only buildings in the village that is constantly maintained and secured. The building was completely repainted in 1995.



Back on the other side of the street is the Olde Country Store, which now houses the visitors center, and next to that is the Stites house. It also sits in an advanced state of disrepair.



Next to the Stites house, we have the The Laird-West house. A new banner hung across the front of the building read "A new roof... thank you!". Behind this banner, a gaping hole in the facade caused by decades of neglect.





The Ward-Ryerson-Paterson house was actually not originally in the location it is now. It was moved from the site of the Monksville reservoir when the area was flooded in 1985. Once enough funding is raised, this house is set to be restored. Though it first appears on tax records in 1780 it most likely dates back even earlier than that. It was one of a handful of "satellite farms" that helped the village of Hewitt sustain over the years.

The Ward-Ryerson-Paterson house can be seen on the right.
The Harty-Milligan house sits adjacent to the Ward-Ryerson-Paterson house. This structure dates back to the early 1860's, when the village was seeing significant expansion to accommodate for the needs of the civil war. It was given an exterior refurbishment in 1995, around the same time the church was being worked on.


The second house moved from the site of the Monksville Reservoir was the Writenour house. Built in 1818, this was another satellite farm. It was expanded to in the 1870's, but hasn't changed much since.




Since the town wasn't always maintained after everybody left, many building have been demolished and a few others just collapsed. There are a couple of ruins throughout the village evident of this. The first one visitors come across is the old company store. This is where exployees of the ironworks would get their food and supplies. Employees would purchase items on a credit system. They would pick up whatever they needed and the total of the items taken was subtracted from their weekly pay.




Another such ruin is the "Longhouse", which was a dormitory for the iron workers who didn't have their own houses. Similar to the 1760's "Stone Double" house, very little remains of this building.




The manager of the mine near the ironworks had his own house, which was the largest house in the village. This three story residence was built in 1860, around the time that the ironworks was expanding for the civil war. At one time, it was the most beautiful house in the park. It is currently in a serious state of disrepair.




The stone double house is the oldest original house in the village. Dating back to 1760, this house was in it's current place since before the American revolution.



Finally, right of Furnace Bank rd., is the heavily vandalized Wm. J. Van Dunk House. This house belonged to one of the miners who worked in the area. Little has been done to maintain this building, and as a result it is falling apart.








The Long Pond Ironworks is one of the most unknown yet interesting historic sites in the state. Its like a small piece of revolutionary history tucked away in the woods of northern New Jersey. Hopefully more money can be granted to the state to help fix up the rest of the houses. Somehow, every missing piece of this town changes its significance exponentially. For a site that played a part in  three major american military conflicts, the attention it receives is insignificant.








4 comments:

  1. I lived in the Laird-West house for about 5 years till 1956. The mine-hole was great fishing and swimming and in back of the "charcoal pit/old country store was a great swimming hole nobody knew about and the fishing was fantastic. I hunted/fished every inch for many years.

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  2. I lived in the Laird-West house for about 5 years till 1956. The mine-hole was great fishing and swimming and in back of the "charcoal pit/old country store was a great swimming hole nobody knew about and the fishing was fantastic. I hunted/fished every inch for many years.

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  3. My family lived there for 4 generations, we were one of the last families to leave in 1990 when the state decided they wanted to make it a historical site. My Mother lived there for over 30 years, the Managers house on the hill was where she grew up and where I lived until I was 6. It will always be my home and I now take my children to see where they came from and tell them the stories passed down in my family.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. One of my favorite things about running this blog is that I get to hear from folks like you who were once a part of the lifeblood of these places. If you have any more memories or stories that you could share I would really enjoy hearing them. And I'm sure most of the readers would as well.

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